File photo: Working out what type of music your pooch wants to listen to has been a little difficult – until now. Picture: AP

London - Many dog owners like to leave the radio on to keep their pet company when they have to pop out.

But working out what type of music your pooch wants to listen to has been a little difficult – until now.

Researchers have looked into what genres dogs enjoy the most, and it would appear that they are fans of soft rock and reggae.

Both lowered the animals’ stress levels and made them behave better according to the study, which was published in the journal Physiology and Behaviour.

Glasgow University researchers played music into the kennels of dogs that were waiting to be found homes by an animal charity.

When soft rock and reggae were played, the dogs’ heart rate variability was significantly higher, showing their stress rate had fallen. They were also calmer and more relaxed, spending less time standing and barking.

It follows a previous study in which dogs were discovered to find classical music soothing – but got bored with it after a day.

Neil Evans, professor of integrative physiology at Glasgow University, said: "Overall the response to different genres was mixed, highlighting the possibility that, like humans, our canine friends have their own individual music preferences. That being said, reggae music and soft rock showed the highest positive changes in behaviour.

"There is some evidence from work in humans that suggests that the relaxing effects of music are related to aspects of tempo or repeated motifs that can be present in the music. Possibly the reggae and soft rock have that more overtly expressed."

The study examined dogs in a rescue centre run by the Scottish SPCA in Dumbarton over a fortnight.

Researchers looked at the dogs’ stress levels, which was measured through heart rates, saliva samples and observation of behaviour. They found the levels decreased significantly after listening to music.

The charity says it is now going to buy sound systems to pipe music into the kennels of all their re-homing centres.